“It Girl and the Atomics” is a comic that you might mistake as always light and breezy — and don’t get me wrong, Jamie S. Rich and Natalie Nourigat are no strangers to a good sense of humor and an overall feeling of fun. But in “It Girl and the Atomics” #11, Rich and Nourigat remind readers that “It Girl and the Atomics” can have a strong dramatic edge, too, when you sometimes least expect it.
After last month’s romp as It Girl tried to track down Dr. Osamu’s stolen device, I’ll admit that my defenses were down a bit. Treehouses with trapdoors that somehow moved people into underground lairs, fake French accents and an all-kid spy group called the KImmanDos will do that to you. But in this issue, as It Girl and company try to defeat the increasingly powerful Count of St. Germain, there’s a slightly darker side to the comic that rears its head once more.
Here’s the thing: I don’t think it’s out of place. In fact, I think it’s necessary. I love the lighter touch that “It Girl and the Atomics” brings to the page, and it’s a refreshing breath of fresh air. But even a comic that looks at things with a slightly cheerier edge can still have some dramatic moments; if anything, the contrast between them and the rest of the comic ends up that much stronger and it lets Rich make his point. I feel like Rich is following the original spirit of “Madman” in that sense, and the slightly grim conclusion to the story fits in well with the series as a whole. The one thing I wasn’t as crazy about was the out-of-the-blue nature of the resolution for “It Girl and the Atomics” #11. It comes so out of left field that it’s hard to not liken it to a deus ex machina, but then again, that could also be the point: don’t ask the god to come out of the machine unless you’re ready to accept the consequences.
Still, there’s a lot of great stuff in this comic. I love the combination exposition dump and fight scene, for instance, and having characters like Shane and some of the Atomics jump in around the halfway point is a nice reminder of the book’s supporting cast. With each issue, “It Girl and the Atomics” reminds me more and more of classic superhero comics from the Silver Age, but without feeling dated; it’s modern and smart, but there’s also that strong storytelling that more often than not has superheroics being an enjoyable prospect.
I wasn’t familiar with Nourigat’s art before this two-part story, but I won’t forget it now that I’ve seen it. She’s another good choice for “It Girl and the Atomics,” because like original creator Michael Allred (as well as regular series artist Mike Norton and other guest artist Chynna Clugston Flores) she draws in a clean, light style. She’s got her own distinct look, though; everyone seems a little more youthful under her pen, and with the KImmanDos guest-starring that’s a smart decision. When everyone’s attacking the Count of St. Germain while he gives his exposition, the looks on everyone’s faces are just a riot, and I couldn’t help but giggle a little.
With every issue of “It Girl and the Atomics” able to serve as someone’s first, don’t think that you couldn’t jump in with this two-parter that started last month. Sure, the book comes to an end with #12, but that’s no reason to miss out on a really fun comic. I’ve come to really adore “It Girl and the Atomics,” and I’m going to miss it when it’s gone. Until then, “It Girl and the Atomics” is well worth any reader’s time.